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Giroux should be held accountable for redistricting vote

May 11, 2012
The Mining Journal

We'd like to alert readers to a fast approaching deadline next week for filing to be on the August partisan primary ballot for county offices.

Next week Tuesday, May 15, is the deadline to either pay a $100 filing fee or turn in nominating petitions with 100-200 signatures to appear on the August ballot. State law gives non-affiliated candidates a bit longer - until July 19 - to file what's known as qualifying petitions with 300-600 signatures to appear on the November general election ballot.

We regret to inform readers that as of this writing, just one candidate for county treasurer, incumbent Democrat Ann Giroux, had taken the steps necessary to appear on the August ballot. In Giroux's case, she gathered sufficient signatures.

The county treasurer's position is, by all accounts, one that is distinguished by making the trains run on time. Little attention is paid to the job, or the person in it, unless something goes horribly wrong or something out of the ordinary takes place.

That's what happened last year when Giroux found herself thrust into the spotlight via a state statute that required her membership on a committee which determined a redistricting plan for Marquette County.

Fellow committee members included former county clerk Connie Branam and former county prosecutor Gary Walker, both Democrats, Marquette County Democratic Party Chairman Ben Bohnsack and Dan Adamini, who is chairman of the Marquette County Republican Party. Giroux voted in favor of a plan that reduced the number of county commission seats from nine to six. So did the balance of the board with the exception of Branam, who dissented, favoring a plan that featured a five-member panel.

We sincerely believed then, and still believe now, that the action was a profound disservice to county residents, because it reduced representation in the county. Additionally, this entire process had, to some degree, a partisan smell about it, although an appeals court review later confirmed the decision. All of that said, we hold the elected officials involved should should answer for the votes.

And seeing that Walker and Branam both retired before the end of their respective terms, that leaves Giroux.

There's still time for candidates of either party to either pay the filing fee or gather petition signatures to run against her.

At a minimum, before votes are cast for Giroux, she should be held to account for her actions.

For several years, we have had county commissioners who showed much concern over spending practices at the county, including programs such as the now discredited retire/rehire program that was thankfully halted.

We feel the redistricting plan may have been created to eliminate those commissioners that are most closely watching the bottom line. Taxpayers should take all of this into account when going to the polls. Certainly, Giroux didn't do anything illegal but that doesn't mean what she did was right.



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